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Mark Steyn wears his Ofcom ‘death sentence’ with pride but this is a tragedy for British broadcasting


AFTER much rumour and speculation, worst fears were confirmed on Monday when, in Mark Steyn’s own words, ‘The Ministry of Truth Ruled’. In other words Ofcom ruled against Mark Steyn; having abandoned their investigation into one of his shows, they managed to find a single word (‘definitive’) to hang him in a second programme. Here is their judgement: 

As for their excuse, because believe me it is an excuse (they needed a reason to clamp down on GB News and the threat to the official Cov-d vaccine narrative that Steyn’s brave and truthful broadcasting presented) this was, of course, nothing to do with free inquiry – of course not. Their words are pure doublespeak.

‘We’ve been consistently clear that broadcasters are free to air potentially controversial and challenging programmes or question government/official stats & evidence. However, with this comes an obligation to ensure audiences are not materially misled on factual matters.’

You really couldn’t make it up, could you?

What of their duty to ensure that audiences are not ‘materially misled’ by government/official statistics and evidence? What pit of lies did that disappear down? What of the material claims parroted by the broadcast media on the 500,000 Covid death projections (not true), on vaccine safety (not true), on informed consent (not true), and very specifically on the BBC’s repeated all-clear vaccine safety reassurance for pregnant women? Mark has his own devastating examples below. In fact the examples are so numerous and so routine they would risk overwhelming a proper commission of inquiry.

And where was Ofcom when this material misleading of young women was taking place? Hiding in plain sight – exactly as has this organ of State broadcasting control been from the start of the lockdown and throughout the all-but-mandated novel vaccine roll out.

Which brings us straight back to Mark Steyn’s peculiarly significant crime against the State. And let’s not bandy words on his exact crime, as some have – a ‘definitive’ claim or not – it does no one any favours to present this ‘error’ of Mark’s as a defence of Ofcom in this matter. It is specious.

Don’t tell me they weren’t on the look-out for the first ‘mis-speaking’, ready to pounce. No, it is not worthy and is playing Ofcom’s game. Where were these hair-splitting commentators when Lucy Chappell, Professor in Obstetrics at King’s College London, ‘definitively’ on the BBC told women it was safe to go ahead and get the jab. No mis-speak there, apparently. And anyway my memory is that Mark immediately opened himself up to challenge on the matter of these UKHSA vaccinated versus unvaccinated hospital deaths statistics from a top former ONS statistician. This was the epitome of truthful broadcasting, not the reverse.

But then this is only about one truth – that decided by Whitehall, the BBC and Ofcom – and let’s not forget the long term love-in between Ofcom and the BBC that is a matter of record. Or that it took the former Daily Mail Editor Paul Dacre to dish the dirt on Ofcom – as it needed to be – when his own bid for the job of Ofcom chairman was thwarted by unelected civil servants

It is a tragedy for British broadcasting that GB News have not had the guts to face Ofcom down – they could have quoted Dacre to argue that Ofcom was a fix from the start, that those with independent minds and who do not espouse liberal-left views have less chance of being appointed to this public body than a dead sheep.

Their failure to defend and stand by their most talented and courageous broadcaster – one who was changing the dial after years of institutional capture – is a sad and bad moment in Britain’s history. We hoped they would champion independent investigative broadcasting. It was not to be. They have fallen at the first hurdle. Big Brother rules and all GB News, who failed to take a robust stance on Steyn’s behalf let alone allow him the right of reply, can say is that they are disappointed by it, while they rapidly appoint one compliant Tory MP after another to host their shows. 

In his new Steyn Online website show that went live on Monday (what a tragedy that none of his chutzpah washed off on those puerile GB News executives) Mark hit back. As he says, we have not seen the end of this saga yet – barely the beginning.  


MARK STEYN: I’ve been in this game a long time and I’ve had a couple of hours to reflect on what this all means for me moving forward in the present media environment. I’ve talked it over with family and colleagues, and I have to accept the reality. The reality of what this very serious conviction by Ofcom means. So effective immediately, I am announcing my retirement from public life. TV, radio, print, the lot. Effective immediately. 

Nah, just kidding. 

Given the disgraceful behaviour by so much of the UK media who’ve been content to serve as court eunuchs to the state these last three years, I wear my Ofcom death sentence with pride. The full statement by Ofcom is itself a disgrace. It contains things that are materially misleading. We’re going to get into all that on tomorrow’s show, which will be a special edition with our stats man, Jamie Jenkins. But just to be clear, I obviously reject this judgement and I find it absurd for a number of reasons. I’ll just cite two today. 

One, this is apparently fully Ofcom-compliant telly. Dr Sara Kayat on the top-rated ITV show This Morning. Go, Sara. 

SARA KAYAT: Well, what’s really excellent is, and it’s a statistic that I think should be shouted from the rooftops, is that after 12 days from the first vaccination of the AstraZeneca vaccine, you are 100 per cent effective against hospitalisation and death. So, you know, those are the statistics we need to be hearing. 

PHILLIP SCHOFIELD: Why haven’t we heard that before?

MARK STEYN: Why haven’t we heard that before? Because it’s total crap, but it’s apparently Ofcom-compliant crap. The AstraZeneca vaccine itself is crap, which is why, despite touting it as some great British innovation, His Britannic Majesty’s Government has effectively withdrawn the AstraZeneca vaccine. You can’t get it any more. You can’t get it in Europe. You can’t get it in America. It’s over. It’s done. But Sara Kayat saying it provides 100 per cent protection from hospitalisation and death is fine with Dame Melanie [Dawes, Ofcom chief executive] and the Earl of Ofcom, Michael Grade at Ofcom. 

So that’s one. And that’s one reason why I have no time for this judgement. 

Here’s the second one. 

Right now in the United Kingdom, everyone’s cock-a-hoop over these WhatsApp messages from the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock. What’s left unsaid is that most of the so-called revelations they contain about vaccine policy and the science behind it, were known to anybody paying reasonably close attention these last three years, but they were not covered by UK television and radio because Ofcom put its thumb on the scale with its quote unquote ‘advice’ to broadcasters in, I believe it was May 2020. By ‘advice’, I mean the same kind of advice that the enforcers of protection rackets give to neighbourhood shopkeepers. ‘Nice little TV station. Shame if anything were to happen to it.’ 

That Ofcom advice caused a profound chilling effect on broadcasters. The chilling effect is a familiar concept in the US and even Canadian law. Apparently not so much in the imperial metropolis. And it’s a huge part, the chilling effect of Ofcom, a huge part of what went wrong these last three years. There’s a campaign to get Ofcom’s advice debated in Parliament. Here it is. As you can see, it’s not attracted a lot of attention so far, just 8,079 signatures, and any debate will probably be as useless as those debates on vaccine victims with Sir Christopher Chope talking to a disgracefully empty House of Commons. 

But it correctly . . . I mean, you might want to sign it anyway, because it correctly recognises that Ofcom is not an impartial arbiter, but rather a body that three years ago chose to take one side: the side of the state narrative. And when it did that, it killed honest discussion on TV and radio. For three years, the UK media failed to do its job in large part because of Ofcom. We’re not done here. I’m going to appeal this and I’m going to get it to a real court where a state propagandist such as Dame Melanie or Lord Grade does not get to play judge, jury and executioner. As I said, we’re going to get into all that with Jamie Jenkins, who formerly ran health numbers at the Office for National Statistics on tomorrow’s show.


And you can see the full show here, where I too was able to vent my anger against GB News and the non-public service Telegraph for their non-scoop!

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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